A slimline laptop with power but poor battery life
The latest laptop computer to come out under PC World’s Advent brand is the Verona, a stylish small model with a 13.3in widescreen display.
It may well be ideal for people on a limited budget who are looking for something a bit more powerful than a netbook but who still need it to be easily carried around.
There is something quite pleasing about the Verona’s slimline, rounded design (just over 3cm high so there is no room for any kind of CD or DVD drive) and it comes in range of three colours. The black and red models both cost £330 but the silver one we are looking at comes in at £350.
Like a lot of laptops around at the moment the silver finish also carries a design motif, in this case in a darker grey colouring across the lid and the wrist pad, all of which is neatly set off by the black-coloured bottom of the computer’s case.
Weighing in at a mere 1.8kg it’s also quite light, meaning it should be easy to carry it around all day without that being a problem.
At the heart of the computer is an Intel Celeron ULV743 processor which runs at a low speed of 1.2GHz which does not sound particularly powerful on paper. Most laptops we look at come with at least a 1.6GHz processors.
It is backed up with 3GB of memory, which combined with the processor is more than adequate to do everyday office tasks and allows the installed Windows 7 Home Premium operating system to run smoothly and quickly.
If you feel you still need a bit more oomph then there is a more expensive Verona P model which has an Intel SU2700 1.3GHz processor and costs an extra £50. Both processors are low-voltage models. This means they should use less power and have a longer battery life (they also produce less heat, leading to the slimmer design).
The 13.3in widescreen is very good, with sharp and bright colours thanks mainly to the very high gloss coating used on the screen. The downside of this screen is that the coating does reflect lighting pretty badly and would make using the Verona outside a bit difficult on bright days.
The keyboard is good with large, well-spaced keys that felt good and firm when we were typing, and the touchpad below the keyboard was responsive too. Instead of having left- and right-click buttons on the touchpad there is a single ‘rocker’ button bar – you tap the left side for a left-click and the right for a right-click – which was small but we soon got used to it.
Unfortunately it’s not all good news. The Verona’s slimline design is also its Achilles heel, as it only comes with a slimline battery, which resulted in battery life that was a little disappointing despite its power saving features.
Given all the impressive features it was a shame that the Verona’s battery life was so disappointing. With the screen at half-brightness and the wireless networking turned off the battery lasted for just two hours when watching a movie or two-and-a-half in everyday use.
Although the slim battery keeps the laptop svelte, we expect that most people would put up with the extra bulk if a larger battery was as an option.
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A well-designed and well-priced computer but it cries out for a bigger battery Good points Good value; decent screen; good keyboard Bad points Limited battery life
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